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General Instructions 


Fire Drills 


Certified Fire Drill Expert 

Chief Fire Drill Service 
New York City 


Copyright, 1919, by Joseph Quinn 


Fire Drill signal systems consisting of a certain num- 
ber of taps operated by the hand of a certain person 
are not recommended, as that person may be absent 
at the time the fire drill signal is required. 

If there is no electric interior alarm signal system in 
the building which any teacher may operate in case 
of fire and which will sound an alarm throughout the 
building, then it is advisable to install either a bell, 
gong, horn or whistle, which any teacher or person of 
authority connected with the school may operate by 
sounding the same continuously. 

It is essential that all exit doors which lead out of a 
building should open outward, and it is recommended 
that such doors be equipped w^ith panic bolts, which by 
simply pressing against the same will cause such doors 
to immediately open. 

If there are no panic bolts on exit doors that lead 
out of a building, it is very important that all such 
exit doors (single or double) be kept unlocked and 
unbolted during the time students are in the building; 
also some person or persons should be assigned to see 
that this very important rule is carried out. The omis- 
sion of this rule has on several occasions caused serious 
loss of life to students and others, who were unable 
to get out readily owing to the fact that one or more 
of the exit doors were bolted on top and bottom at the 
time a fire occurred. 

(The above does not mean that exits doors should 
be left open.) 

Exit doors leading to outside iron stairways or fire 
escapes should swing outward so as not to obstruct 





such stairways or fire escapes; if necessary to do this 
such doors should be made in two vertical sections. 
When exit is through windows they should be made 
readily accessible and easy to open. 

"EXIT" signs in letters readily observed should 
be placed directly over or near each exit leading out 
of the building, and in large buildings either red or 
blue lights to be kept lighted at night time, to show 
the location of exits in smoke or darkness, or w^hich 
may be turned on immediately from a point near the 
main entrance or office in case of need. 

Exits and passageways should be kept free and clear 
from obstructions or any material that might cause or 
promote fire and thus prevent the same from beinj 

The policy of storing oils, paints or combustible 
material under stairways or near exits w'hich, if the 
same took fire, w^ould render such stairways or exit 
useless or inaccessible should be prohibited; all storage 
enclosures under stairways should be removed or 
closed up. 

Each class of students should have an assigned place 
of safety to stop at when they leave the building in 
response to the fire drill signal. 

During inclement w^eather it is not advisable to have 
a trial fire drill which would necessitate students to 
leave the building. 

Rapid Dismissal in w^hich students are allowed to 
get hats, coats, etc., should not be classed as a Fire 
Drill Dismissal; such drills are usually given when the 
fire is in some other building or when there is no im- 
mediate danger to the building in which the students 
are housed. 

Steam escaping from a radiator where the vent 
valve had become loose or fallen out has caused quite 
a few panics in schools, the students fearing an ex- 
plosion would occur. Therefore students should be 
instructed that in such cases the only harm that could 
result would be in case a person w^ere to place them- 
selves directly in front of the escaping steam. 

It is important that teachers read the Fire Drill In- 
structions to students, so that no matter what class 
room they are in they w^ill know w^hat exit to use and 
just what to do when the Fire Drill Signal is sounded. 

Fire Drills should be conducted at least twice during 
each month at unexpected times, without notifying 
teachers or students. 

A record of all fire drills should be kept, giving date, 
building, stories, number of students, exits used, time 
taken in dismissal and the alarm system used. 


As each assembly room differs as to plan of seats, 
aisles, exits, etc., it is not possible to give exact in- 
structions in regard to same. 

The rule relative to all exit doors being unlocked 
and unbolted should be strictly observed when the 
students are assembled. 

Students should be assigned to use exits proportion- 
ately, so as not to cause congestion. 

The idea is to try and have all students move simul- 
taneously, and in regular order to their assigned exits. 

Marching in straight lines toward exits is preferable 
to making a number of turns. 

Teachers should accompany their classes and regu- 
late their dismissal. 


For night fire drills the immediate turning on of 
all lights is important. 

Pounding on the dormitory floor with a baseball 
bat or a heavy piece of wood has proved to be oiie 
of the best methods of arousing sleeping persons and 
should be resorted to in addition to any other alarm 
system used. 

Thorough search should be made of the dormitory 
to make sure that no student has been left behind, as 
experience has taught us that some will unconsciously 
roll under the beds and remain there fast asleep. 








Teachers will assign a student to immediately open the Class Room Exit Door. 

The teacher in class room nearest to any exit door leading out of the building will assign one or more 
students to open such exit door or doors. 

Teachers will take a position near their class room exit doors, see that all students have passed out; then 
close said doors to prevent draught. 

They will accompany their classes and may take a position at any part of their class line so as to main- 
tain discipline and keep class formations in order. 

If for any reason a stairway, fire-escape or other exit to which a class is assigned cannot be used, they 
wiU direct students to take the next available exit. 

In case a class meets with delay in leaving a class room, the next class in order of march will take its place 
£uid the delayed class will follow. 

When a class is endangered more than another, such class should be given preference in the line of march 
or to exits, if the case is urgent, and the other class should follow. 

In case of an emergency a teacher may give verbal dismissal to the class, and, if necessary, see that°the Gen- 
eral Dismissal Signal is also immediately sounded. 

They may take personal charge of, or may assign two members of their class to assist any student who 
may be suffering from an ailment that would render such student unable to take an active part in the drills. 

They should observe and adopt the quickest and best method of forming class lines at class room exits. 

They should note the location and should know how to operate the alarm sending stations or whatever other 
signal apphance IS used for the General Disniissal, and also for calling the Fire Department, so that, should an 
occ£ision su-ise, they could sound the alarm signal immediately. 

. . . Teachers shoidd see that all windows in their class rooms are immediately closed if there is a fire in the 
vicinity of the school buildmg. 

.u ..u ^^Mwu* ^^""^^ occasionally read to their classes all the instructions necessary for students to know, so 
that they will thoroughly understand just what they are to do when the Fire Drill Alarm Signal is sounded. 

COPYRIGHT. ^^^Jl^^^^fiQXn^f^, mre DrUl B.pert. 
ciuer tire Drill Sen-Ice, Neiv York 

STUDENTS-Class Room No. 

Use Exit No. 

All students shall immediately arise, put adjustable seats in use up and prepare to leave the building in 
the following order: 

Dismissal shsdl be immediate, those nearest exits move first, form in line while moving, pass out clasis 

room exit in DOUBLE-SINGLE file and LEAD-FOLLOW students from Class Room No, 

to assigned exit, thence to assigned place of safety. 

Order and Silence must prevail during the drill. Go quietly, quickly, without getting hats, coats, books, 

Do not crowd ; do not try to pass those in front of you or those coming out of other class rooms except 
when directed to do so by a teacher. 

Keep moving (unless otherwise directed by a teacher) until out of the building and at assigned place of 

Keep Class Line formation upon reaching assigned place of safety and when return signal is given return in 
reverse order of march. 

When passing through smoke filled halls or rooms students will form a chain by holding the hand of student 
directly behind them. 

In case a student becomes ill while the drill is in progress, such student will be taken to a place of safety by 
the two nearest students. 

When students are assigned by a teacher to assist another student, they will follow their class line with 
such student in their charge. 

Students assigned to open any exit door leading out of the building will hold such exit door or doors open 
until all students using such exits have passed out, after which they will follow the line. When the return signal 
is given they will hold such exit door or doors open until all students have returned, after which they will return 
to their classes. 

Students assigned to open class room exit doors that are NOT self-closing will take their usual place in the 
class line. 

When a teacher gives verbal fire drill alarm to a class, students will respond to the same as per instructions 
for general dismissal. 

Students suffering from any ailment that would prevent them from taking an active part in the drills will 
notify their teachers to that effect. 

Upon discovering fire in any part of the school building students will immediately notify the nearest teacher 
and also the person in charge. Do this quietly so as not to cause panic. 

When the fire is in a closet, locker or room, shut the door of same, so as to prevent it from spreading. 

If the Fire Drill Signal should be sounded while classes are returning after a drill, students will face about 
and proceed out of the building in the regular general dismissal order, under direction of their teachers. 


When there are fire hydrants in the vicinity of school 
buildings and fire hose, nozzles, hydrant wrenches, etc., 
been provided for, the male employees should be or- 
ganized into a Fire Fighting Force consisting of a Cap- 
tain, Lieutenant and as many Privates as obtainable. 

The Engineer, if he is an active man, is usually se- 
lected as Captain and usually selects the other mem- 
bers of the force. 

The Fire Fighting Force should respond with all 
necessary appliances to each Fire Drill Alarm. 

They should stretch one or more lines of hose from 
the nearest hydrant to the building, put nozzle on, 
and be ready to open hydrant if necessary. 

It is very important that at least three hydrant 
wrenches be carried to each alarm in case more than 
one hydrant line is stretched. 

The Fire Fighting Force should have practice drills 
(independent of the dismissal drills , once each week 
until proficient, and then at least twice each month. 

Such drills should consist in coupling hose together, 
connecting it to hydrant, stretching same to building, 
putting nozzle on, opening hydrant, allowing w^ater to 
flow through line, handling nozzle at different water 
pressures and also the charging and use of chemical 
extinguishers. (It is not advisable to open fire hydrant 
in freezing weather except a fire actually occurs. - 

The Captain should select Hydrant men and pipe 
men so that he will alw^ays have one man at the hydrant 
and if possible, two at the pipe or nozzle. 

Full stretch of the line of hose from hydrant to the 

fire should be made before turning on the water as it 
is difficult to move a charged line of hose. 

Avoid pulling the hose line too tight at the hydrant 
or standpipe, as this will cause a bend and thus stop 
the full flow of water thru the line. This is also liable 
to cause a burst. 

All bends should be taken out of the line after it is 
stretched. On practice Dismissal Drills avoid stretch- 
ing the line of hose -where it might interfere with the 
students' line of dismissal. 

Full instructions should be given the force in the 
charging and use of chemical extinguishers. The class 
in which sulphuric acid, bicarbonate of soda and w^ater 
are used in combination should not be upset or their 
contents broken, until they are brought near to the fire. 
Otherwise much of their contents will be lost. 

It is not advisable to take these extinguishers down 
from their place on practice fire drills, as by so doing 
some of the acid contained therein is upset, mixes w^ith 
soda and water and thus spoils the contents. 

Always try to prevent fire from reaching a stairway 
or shaft by driving it back and extinguishing it with a 
stream of water. 

It is rather a serious condition when fire has extended 
into hollow walls, ceilings, etc., and it would thus neces- 
sitate the immediate calling of the regular fire depart- 

The usual procedure in such cases is to open up such 
hollow spaces, insert the nozzle in the opening and 
direct the stream of w^ater upw^ard or across the open- 
ing until the fire is extinguished. Then open the entire 
space as far as it shows a burnt condition. 



029 453 131 2 

When fire has possession of a room, closet or locker 
do not open the door of same until you have a line of 
hose stretched and charged with water or something 
at hand with which to extinguish the fire. 

To prevent fire or smoke extending from rooms to 
halls and stairways close all doors and fanlights of such 

The water supply system for fire protection should 
be tested from time to time to see that the pressure is 
sufficient and that all fire hydrants are in good condi- 
tion, that their valve stem and threads on couplings are 
greased and that all water is drawn from their barrels 
before freezing weather sets in, except when they are 
of the non-freezing type. 


029 453 131 2